Seychelles’ first-ever gabion rock barrage was built at the Bougainville wetland in the district of Takamaka. (Salifa Karapetyan, Seychelles News Agency- file photo)
(Seychelles News Agency) – Between 50 to 60 farmers of a western district of Mahe, Seychelles’ main island, will benefit with improved water supply once the agriculture department completes a water reservoir project at Bon Espoir, Montagne Posee.
Under the project, a gabion will be built to collect and store 1,000 cubic metres of water in a wetland identified at the former Cable and Wireless station at Bon Espoir.
A gabion is normally a cage filled with rocks, used to build walls to contain soil, water or for defence. When used to capture water, gabions also act as filtering dams, not only to increase storage capacity but also to harness the resource instead of letting the water flow down to the sea.
In an interview with SNA on Monday, the senior irrigation and drainage officer at the agriculture department, Serge Larue, said that the project will benefit farmers of a western district Anse Boileau.
“The gabion is becoming a popular system for collecting water. It is a long-term project that is strong and durable. It will provide water to the farmers of Hermitage, Dan Fore as well as Montagne Posee,” said Larue.
He outlined that although fresh water is already being provided to farmers at Hermitage and Dan Fore, the amount of people that have been allocated with new land has increased, placing more pressure on the supply.
“Between 10 to 15 farmers at Montagne Posee, located below the prison, have never been connected to our water as they are located above our reservoir. They had to connect to their own sources. As we need to help everyone, the ministry had to find the best solution,” said Larue.
“We located a source at the top of Bon Espoir, Montagne Posee, that will provide water to all these farmers having water problems in the district,” he continued.
Before work on the project commences, farmers who are already getting their water from the area will have to relocate their hoses to a location identified by the department. This will prevent the water supply from having high content of soil, something foreseen to happen should they have remained connected to the wetland during construction.
The construction of the gabion reservoir will take 6 months to complete. A similar project is to be undertaken on Praslin to tackle water supply problems on the second largest island of Seychelles.
Using gabion for water collection in national projects started as a pilot in 2018 at the Bougainville “Dan Sours” wetland in the district of Takamaka in the south of Mahe. Following that project, two more such reservoirs were built at Val D’en Dor, Baie Lazare.
In previous SNA reports, it has been outlined that such reservoirs increased resilience to climate change and benefits for water supply for human consumption, food security and livelihood.
Such projects represent an alternative to desalination for potable water production and the sustainability of the environment.